Spring 1958 (Age 83)

With his U. S. visit postponed, Sir Winston spent Easter at Chartwell, tended by a full time nurse, Roy Howells, who later wrote about his charge in Simply Churchill (1965). Beaver-brook described Churchill as “clear in his head though not firm on his feet.” Brendan Bracken, also ill, said that “his normal imperturbability seems rather dinted.” He was well enough to attend The Other Club in April, and to accompany Lord Beaverbrook to the 1940 Club, an organisation for those close to “The Beaver” in the Ministry of Aircraft Production in 1940. But his fever returned, causing Lord Moran much concern. One night the physician dined with Lady Churchill, who allegedly remarked, “You know, Charles. . . the Tories never really liked Winston. It was Labour that made him Prime Minister in 1940.”

Jock Colville, actively engaged in the founding of Churchill College, Cambridge, visited a depressed WSC who told Colville he did not wish to live. “Winston hasn’t got much out of life since he resigned,” Colville said.

Others also thought about Churchill’s approaching death. The question of how to handle his funeral originated with the Queen, and Lord Moran was summoned by the PM to discuss the matter. Meanwhile Bracken was terminally ill with cancer, and WSC overcame his intense dislike of hospitals to visit him. WSC still followed world politics, and commented that the return to power of de Gaulle “may purge French politics.”

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